‘Surge of optimism’ from Petworth business owners

Petworth business owners have spoken about their plans to reopen their doors to customers as the government’s easing of lockdown restrictions brings a ‘surge of optimism’.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:50 pm

Members of Petworth Business Association (PBA) discussed reopening businesses in the town at a meeting on Tuesday evening and chairman Sally Matson described members as ‘very eager’ to reopen, adding: “The feedback from the customers is they just can’t wait to be able to get shopping again.”

Steve Howe, owner of Petworth Bookshop, said: “The renewed appreciation of the strength of what is local and the values of real community have sustained many small businesses through these last hard 12 months.

“Sadly not all but the three short weeks of frenetic trading in December made plain people want real things. Real conversation. Real shops.

Steve Howe of Petworth Bookshop

“I think April 12 seems likely to bring with it another surge of optimism that things are at last, in the shops at least, beginning to get back to normal.”

Jan Mackay, from Allans of Petworth, Gentleman’s Clothier, said: “It’s been a difficult and worrying time for everyone, however now that we have a date for reopening we feel reassured that Petworth has always been a popular place and in the current climate a very safe place to visit.

“We are encouraged by the support we have had from our customers who have expressed how keen they are to visit us when we reopen.

“We have tried to use our lockdown time wisely and are currently refurbishing the shop. It has probably been needing a makeover for a while and we hope our customers will like our new look.”

Jan and Callum Mackay of Allans Menswear

Elizabeth Lee, at Tudor Rose, said: “Everyone at Tudor Rose Antiques is counting the days until we are allowed to reopen once more.

“The only discernible advantage of lockdown was the ability to decorate and overhaul filing systems – all of which have been done and we are now just counting the days. So roll on April and let’s strut our stuff once more.”

Claire Penhallurick, owner of Bear Petworth, said: “We opened our doors in September 2020 after the first lockdown, thinking it would be full steam ahead without interruption. How wrong we were. During the 12 weeks we were open, we were fortunate to enjoy local support, both within Petworth itself, from surrounding areas and from further afield.

“During the past year, our lives have become much more ‘local’ in some many ways.

Elizabeth Lee of Tudor Rose Antiques

“I hope the continued desire to support local independent businesses will be a positive outcome of this difficult period.”

John Bird of John Bird Antiques